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YoBrandino Blog

Entertainment passes the time.

Well, the big topic is still focusing on Christmas, which was very nice this year. Had some family over on Christmas Eve and played some games. We played Blokus a lot. It is a very addiction, simply challenging game. I had gotten it from a co-worker for Christmas and love it! We also played the card game Rook, which was pretty fun too. We then exchanged some gifts and I got Super Mario All Stars Limited Edition for the Wii and some really nice hand crafted Pakistani onyx stone goblets. We also got a steam mop!

blokus Super Mario All Stars Wii

So, we were up late playing games and then we went to my parents Christmas morning for breakfast and more gifts. I got a nice electric tooth brush, the board game Sorry!, new dress shoes, large set of drinking glasses, new pillows to go with the new mattress I got myself, and restaurant gift cards. We also got a shop vac, circular saw, some wine, and tickets to go see Wicked the Musical!!! So, get to go to Indianapolis, IN this week to go see Wicked, yay! Then after Christmas morning, we went to my grandparents for dinner with lots of family.


I'm still playing Sakura Wars for the Wii and Luminous Arc for the DS. Almost finished with Sakura Wars and I'll put up a review when I do. But more importantly, I am still really enjoying Luminous Arc. I love these strategy RPG's like this. Fire Emblem is probably my favorite series. Luminous Arc is really filling that niche nicely. I didn't care for the Final Fantasy Tactic's games, but I think I may go back and give them another chance eventually. I also didn't care for Disgaea, but don't think it's worth another shot for me. Oh well, anyways, after I finish Sakura Wars, I think I will start Deadly Premonition for the 360. So, looking forward to that.

Watched the new Doctor Who Christmas special the other day. It was really just ok. Kinda eh, actually. I'm still really looking forward to the new season. The preview looked interesting. But the last few seasons were just so great and I still miss David Tennantimmensely.

Doctor Who

I need to get back to watching Blood+ since it has been a while now. Also trying to kick up the notch on watching movies. We just watched this movie called Exam last night. It was pretty interesting, but nothing to super. But, I would recommend it. It involves a group of people put in a room to take an exam as the final step in trying to get a job. They are given a small set of rules and find them selves left with seemingly bank pieces of paper and no idea what they need to do. It is interesting to watch them work with and against each other to figure out what question they are actually trying to answer.

So, in summary, play the blokus board game, play Luminous Arc for the DS, and watch all seasons of the Doctor Who 2005 series. Enjoy!

Talking about video games... again. Oh! And some Anime!!

So, I finally decided to put down Lunar Silver Star Harmony for the PSP. It's just not doing it for me. I truly expected to love this game, but I just do not desire to continue playing it. I played it for 20-30 hours and wanted to finish it. But, it's holding me back from playing other games and so I need to move on.

I went ahead and put up my Lunar Silver Star Harmony review based on what I did play even though I didn't finish the game. I normally don't review unless I finish the game, but I felt like doing it in this case for some reason.

Anyways, it will be added to my stack of games, I started weeding out of my collection, to trade in. Last time I weeded out my collection, I got rid of about a third of my games. This time it won't be so harsh. But I'm getting pickier on what I spend my time playing and I just own too many games. So, I'm taking out the ones I tried but didn't really care for and those I don't think I have a huge interest in playing anymore. Last time I ebayed them all, but this time I just plan to trade into Gamestop towards the 3DS once they start taking preorders.

Sakura Wars Luminous Arc Pinball FX 2

So, my console time has been devoted to Sakura Wars: So Long My Love on the Wii. Its an interesting game, defintely different. But I'm almost done with it, and am kinda glad it seems to be on the shorter side. The dialogue side of the game is good, but could really use something more. I really enjoy the battles, but there just isn't enough of them. But its a nice game experience and really feels like you have been thrown straight in an anime. The game is even broken into episodes and all.

I've also still been playing quite a bit of Pinball FX 2. I really just can't get enough of this game. I got the new Marvel tables and really like them a lot. Now I'm just working on getting higher scores, lol.

So, since I moved on from Lunar on the PSP, I started my next handheld game. I choose to start Luminous Arc and wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. But I quickly put in 15 hours already and its already one of my favorite games. I need to pick up Luminous Arc 2 when I see it, and I really hope the 3rd one comes to the US, but its not looking like it will. Dang!

Other than video games, I have still been watching the Blood+ anime. It got really strong around its midpoint, and is still really good but lulling a little, but I know it will pick right back up. It had been awhile since I really watched some anime; didn't realize how much I was missing it.


Speaking of anime. Those of you in the Anime/Manga Squad union need to get in on the Jeopardy game. I won last time, and haven't had much competition yet this time.

Welcome to December

I finished Blue Dragon (XBox 360) and have posted my Blue Dragon review.I have also just posted my Pinball FX2 review for the 360 as well.

Blue Dragon Cover Pinball FX2

Again, the 360 has been dominating my gaming time while playing Blue Dragon and lots of Pinball FX 2. I now have all the available tables for Pinball FX 2 and trying to get better scores on Extreme and Agents. Just downloaded the Rocky and Bullwinkle table the other day, but not really getting into that one as much as the others. And now I have the new Marvel tables to look forward to later in the month. Also downloaded Trials HD and Greed Corp during the Black Friday deals. So, great value there. Trials HD is not my normal flavor of game, but it is fun and addictive. I had a good time with the demo back when the game came out, but didn't think I'd stick with it enough to justify a purchase. But with the sale, I'm glad I took the plunge. Greed Corp really interested me when it came out and I played the demo a lot, but the game is hard and I was just going to wait to get it. But for $2 you couldn't stop me. I'm still trying to get the hang of it. I like it, but need to figure out some good strategies quick so I can actually win and move forward in the game.

Trials HD Greed Corp

I'll be looking to play my next main console game soon, but really want to wait a bit so I can try and devote more time to Lunar Silver Star Harmony for the PSP. I'm still having trouble really getting sucked into the game even though I like it well enough. I'm almost at the point of casting it aside and moving on to something else, but want to give it one last shot and really sit down and see if it can persuade me to finish it.

And for a change of subject, it is now December and Christmas is in the air, and everywhere else too. I got a good portion on my Christmas shopping done on Black Friday even though I wasn't originally going out this year and ended up just going for about two hours. Now Christmas can't come fast enough!

Blood+ Saya

And another change of subject. I have been watching the Blood+ anime and am thinking I really like it. The last few anime's I've tried haven't really grabbed me, so it's nice to find another one that really does. Other things I'm watching include Dexter. So, we are in season 5 and I really felt this season was lacking in the beginning and was really weak after coming off of the really strong season 4. But the last few episodes have just really exploded and this may be the best season yet. I hate being on a week to week basis now and the next episode just can not come fast enough!

Well, until next time, have fun.

Vacation Week

So, its here... VACATION WEEK!

No alarms, no bed times, no obligation. A week of bliss! Yep, I'm finally taking some vacation time and no plans, just nice relaxation. Yay! Soooo nice!

Last night we went to A Murder Mystery Dinner. It started with a real train ride and you met most of the 'characters' during that time and they selected some guests to have roles then too. As we left the train, there was a MURDER! Then from the train we went to the historic Golden Lamb, former hotel of old to presidents and more, now a historic landmark and restaurant. There we ate dinner and the 'show' continued. The detective arrived and the mystery started to unravel, with some hilarious interaction. Then, another MURDER! Then it was time to really try to solve the crimes. Everyone got a form to write in who they think did it and why. Then the story continued with a shoot out and the murder being shoot-up to death by the detective. It wasn't who I thought it was, but it was certainly a great time!!

Pinball FX 2 Lunar PSP

Now it's Sunday and I am beginning my relaxation. I've been playing a lot of Pinball FX 2, just can't get enough! Also, I'm still working on finishing Lunar Silver Star Harmony for the PSP. I had higher hopes for it. It's good I just feel it's a little slow paced and dragging a bit. It's not drawing me in to play it, but I'm going to finish. I had also started Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox) and had really been looking forward to playing it since Ninja Gaiden on the NES was one of my favorites. But I'm not really enjoying the combat that much and I don't need the difficulty. But most of all, I'm just feeling bored playing it. So, I decided to pass on it now. I have too many games to play those I'm not caring for. So, next I put in Dawn of Mana (PS2). I loved Sword of Mana when I played on the GBA, and knew this was a different gameplay approach and got pretty bad reviews. But, I thought I'd try it anyways. I like Mana, the graphics were appealing, and it felt like it had a lot of charm. But the reviews were right, bleh! I wanted to keep playing, but the camera was unbearable and the combat was lacking greatly. Then starting over with levels and abilities each chapter just completely put me off. So, PASS!

Ninja Gaiden Black Dawn of Mana

Now I have to choose my next main console game to start playing, and I want a great one for my vacation, but with so many games in my collection, its just so hard to choose which on to start next. So, I'm up for suggestions.

PS. I had recently finished BioShock (360), loved it, and posted a review.

Newest obsession... Pinball FX 2, plus Halloween is awesome!

New blog post and back to bloggin basics. For a while I was just posting my game reviews here as practice but have now migrated them to the player review sections. So, my blog will return to being a blog now. But I'll still post when I put up new reviews as I finish games. But we'll focus on various topics and some mid-game impressions here. (PS. I see a trend on Gamespot blogs on numbering each blog and wasn't sure what that's about, so if you know, let me know; thanks!)

Anyways, I love game demos. All games should have them as it gets me interested in more than I usually would be. Such as recently I was playing some of the Pinball FX 2 trial games and glad to see I could get a few tables individually for just 200 MS points. So I had like 410 MS points sitting there and picked up one of the tables to play fully. Man, I was having a blast! So, I picked up a second table. Then got more points and picked up the FX 2 Core pack with four more tables. And then got another table after that. Now I am obsessed with getting higher and higher scores. Which is a nice change of pace for me since I'm not usually a high score kind of guy. So, if you play too add my as a friend (Gamertag is YoBrandino); it can only help our Wizard Scores!

Next topic... HALLOWEEN!

Man, I love Halloween. I have a Halloween party every year and most all my friends dress and my family that comes too, my parents and grandparents. And of course my dog too! We dress up for the party and for handing out candy!

Mario Costume

This year I dressed up as Mario and my dog was a turtle (Koopa Troopa). Last year I was Dr. Horrible, the year before that a pumpkin of sorts, the year before that a group of 8 of us were all different colored crayons, and the year before that I was Tin Man and some of my friends were the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, and the Witch. My dog was a cow last year, and bumble bee and devil before that.

Haha, I love Halloween! Every one should always dress up! There is also always tons of treats and snacks, and I love Halloween themed foods! But this aspect is fun and delicious, just doesn't sit well with my acid reflux.. boo.

Okay, this long and rambley now; so go have a fun a Halloween!

Completed | Rogue Galaxy

Rogue Galaxy Boxart

From character introductions, plot structure, and combat mechanics, Rogue Galaxy is an extremely well put together game. I put in around 75 hours and the game continuously kept me interested and engaged. The story was coherent and characters had goodintroductions and endings, but little in between. The real time combat was handled nicely with no loading, but a few aspects of battles broke up the flow too often in sections were lots of enemies had shields at once or when you are forced to use the barrier shot weapon. Overall, it still worked well and weapon leveling and synthesis was interesting. I did not spend a lot of time with the factory making weapons and items, but once you get past the very steep learning curve it is a nice addition to step aside from the game and mess around getting the right supplies and assembling the factory with correct time. Another nice addition was the Insectron. I enjoyed the turn-based grid battles with the insectrons and enjoyed raising them in their cages. There is very little to complain about this game as it pretty much did everything right. I feel like this game should be making it into my top games of all time, but it just didn't hit the right chord for me. I enjoyed it and can see how great it is, but just not feel the right level of charm or connection to raise it to that next level in my eyes.

Completed | Indigo Prophecy

Indigo Prophecy Box

Indigo Prophecy, the cinematic game of cinematic games. While it may lack some game meat, this is definitely an experience worth your time. Albeit, a brief time. I think it took me just over 6 hours or so to complete, but for this type of game, that was really just about right. With a pleasant mix of good story, characters, traditional adventure styIe gaming, and advanced quick-time events, the overall game comes together better than any of its individual parts.

With this game, the story is key. The games flows just like a movie. I was very intrigued by the story which starts off with you committing a murder and not knowing why. Some of my favorite aspects of the game came from this character's perspective and trying to cover your tracks and hide any incriminating evidence. You also take hold of the detective team investigating the crime as second major characters as well as a couple various characters for a sort time too. The story progresses with supernatural and sci-fi twists with a pretty solid follow through all the way to the end. However, about three-fourths of the way through the story does take a bit of leap, but its easy enough to fill yourself in on things it feel like they left out. A few of your decision can effect small aspects of the story, and a few can lead to a few different endings.

The overall menus, continues, and feel of the game feels as if you stuck a DVD in and are pausing, rewinding, and interacting with the movie. While you have direct control of your characters most of time to examine and interact surrounding, use items, speak to other characters, and make decisions, large sections of the games have you basically following quick time events that rely on you matching directions on the two analog sticks to the screen prompts. I really enjoyed these sections where the prompts corresponded to heavy action sequences. The action is enjoyable, and the quick-time events feel right and fit in well. However, sometimes you are doing the same events during dialogue and video sequences. While they can effect these sequences, they just don't seem to fit in as well here. Other times the game has you pressing the left and right triggers alternatively quickly when your character is using strength or exerting themselves. These sections are not too special, but I have no complaints for them either. I do have complaintsfor the couple of sections that require you to use the triggers to control breathing while doing other tasks. These breathing sequences seemed overly frustrating and unnecessary.

So, this game was very unique, but everything came together very well with a strong story that took just about the right amount of time to have an enjoyable experience without feeling put out by some of the untraditional gameplay. I would defeintely recomend this game to anyone looking for a fun, interactive story and a quick experience.

Currently Playing | Radiata Stories

Well, I just finished my first play through of Radiata Stories for the PlayStation 2. This game has quickly became one of my favorites. The simple and cheerful world looks beautiful and is really appealing to me. The combat is enjoyable, one of my favorites. I'm starting to enjoy to more real time combat systems (such as the Tales of.. games) in my RPG's versus the more traditional turn based (Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy). But I'll definitely keep turn based combat for my strategy RPG's though (like Fire Emblem).

Radiata Stories

I usually prefer more substantial side characters, but the recruitment system really adds some fun game play here. There are a lot of characters in the world, and you can get most of them to join you so you can choose them for your battle party. You only control the main character, Jack Russell, as the other party members are AI controlled, although you are able to learn commands you can give out to have them do what you need or want them to instead.

Screen 1 Screen 2

So, as I said, I just finished my first play through of the game. Which, implies there will be a second play through. And, yes, I have just started my second play through. See, there is a major decision you have to make about half way through the game, and so there are basically two separate games from that point on. I did one option the first time around, and had made an extra save spot so I could go back to play the other option right from there. However, once I finished the first play though, I opted to just start all the way over the the New Game+ feature which lets me keep some items, money, and skills from the first play through.

I put around 40 hours into the fist play though, but did so in under a week. Which is very quick for me, but makes since this game really drew me in with its charm and fun game play. I look forward to recruiting more friends and seeing another side of the story.

Completed | Prototype


Sometimes I loved it, some times I hated it. But overall this game was a lot of fun. I don't play to many of the open world type games as the tend to become rather boring very quickly, but I must say, Prototype kept feeling fresh and fun for the majority of the time. Running and gliding through the city was thrilling and most of the attacks were very entertaining. The different weapons and un-lockable attacks made choosing how to combat each situation tactical and fun. The story really had my interest in the beginning and I enjoyed getting bits and pieces through people's memories as you consumed them. However, towards the end of the game the story seemed more choppy and a little less coherent. Occasionally it became frustrating difficult in certain sections where I wasn't clear what exactly I needed to do or with so much hitting me at once, but managed in the end. Overall, I really enjoyed the game; it doesn't make it into my favorites, but I would recommend it.

Completed | Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

Puzzle Quest

After years of playing on and off, I have come to the end of my time with Puzzle Quest. This mix of a gem puzzle game with an RPG was very pleasant surprise. It has been fun to play in short burst from time to time, and often became quite addictive. Seizing cities, crafting items, and learning spells really added a lot to the experience. Though, over time the story became rather stale, it was still nice to have it there. But now, after completing the main quest and laying siege to all the cities, I am now finished and will move on to focus on another game.